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How to Make Remote Employees Feel Included and Engaged (12 Best Practices)

Remote workers can feel very isolated. Striving to help remote employees feel included and engaged is now more challenging than ever.

Without face-to-face communication, remote workers can feel very isolated. In the era we’re living in where remote work is becoming increasingly more popular, striving to help remote employees feel included and engaged is now more challenging than ever.

6 ways to make employees feel included 

Making remote employees feel included can be difficult. Here are 6 tips to help your remote workers feel more included through company culture and employee recognition: 

1 Involve people when making decisions and setting goals

Nothing makes remote employees feel excluded more than when decisions are made without them. Including remote workers and teammates in the decision-making process not only makes them feel more included, but it also enables them to share their opinions so you know where they stand before anything is set in stone. 

Making all-encompassing decisions that ensure everyone’s concerns and opinions have been considered is a great way to foster a positive work environment. Collaborating on deadlines and long-term goals creates a sense of accountability and ensures everyone is working towards the same north star. 

Hear everyone’s opinion

Having a collaborative agenda allows everyone to contribute to the conversation. Try a tool like Fellow to hear everyone’s voice.

2 Give employees the authority to make choices 

Remote employees that don’t have the authority to make choices may feel disengaged or without purpose. Not providing your remote employees with the authority to make decisions may also lead to build up or a bottleneck where everything within the pipeline slows down or even eventually grinds to a halt. 

Empowering your employees to make crucial decisions not only engages them and makes them feel valued, but it also means you’re an effective manager or leader that is able to delegate when appropriate. Delegating tasks and giving your employees the authority to make decisions without you is a great way to boost morale, and overall efficiency. 

3 Recognize each employee’s contribution (pro tip: shout outs on Slack or during town halls)

It can be difficult to boost morale and engage employees from afar, but luckily, we’ve come a long way since the global populace has begun to embrace a remote-first work environment. Recognizing your employees and giving them praise via asynchronous channels like Slack is becoming more and more common and increasingly more important. In a diversified workforce that encompasses employees from different provinces, continents, or time zones, it’s now more important than ever to be able to let your teammates know you appreciate them. 

Recognizing your employees’ contributions can be as simple as giving them a shootout in Slack. If they’ve been doing a good job, announce it on a public channel so everyone can celebrate together! Encouraging employees to show their support by adding reactions to the messages or even sharing their own shootouts is a great way to build a solid sense of comradery amongst your team. 

4 Encourage employees to feed into your company values

Making your remote employees feel included and engaged can be extremely difficult but having a strong company culture that your teammates feel compelled to embrace makes all the difference. In order for our employees to buy into your company’s culture, they have to really understand your values and learn how their daily actions contribute to the greater success of the organization. 

Instilling your values in your employees is easier than you may think. If you hold a daily or weekly standup, you can go around the table and have each teammate give an update on how something they recently completed attributed to one of the company’s core values. Your teammates will be able to learn about your core values and the importance of company culture and you will have the opportunity to reward their positive contributions. 

5 Foster workplace friendships 

Working remotely can be extremely isolating, even more so if your company doesn’t foster genuine human-to-human connections or friendships. Encouraging non-formal catch ups, virtual coffee meetups, or weekly watercooler chats helps to build trust and foster connections.

As a manager, weekly one-on-one are also an essential when it comes to making remote employees feel included and engaged. Oftentimes your direct reports’ main point of contact or liaison to the rest of the organization is their manager. For some individuals, this may be the only opportunity they have to connect with teammates or chat with someone from work. As a manager, it’s important to use this time to genuinely catch up, and learn about your direct report’s pain points or concerns. Talking about goals and benchmarks is important but shouldn’t be the only conversation. 

6 Be mindful of time zones when scheduling activities

Virtual hangouts and team building activities are essential when it comes to making your remote teammates feel included, engaged, and connected. When organizing these events, it’s extremely important to take everyone’s time zone into consideration. 

If there are two prominent time zones, consider hosting two separate events so employees from both time zones can participate. If there is no overlap amongst time zones, consider picking a neutral time slot that works for everyone. If this means hosting an activity midday for some and end of day for others, so be it. It’s important that no matter the time you choose, it doesn’t majorly inconvenience all parties. 

6 tips to help employees stay engaged when working remotely

If you often find yourself asking “How do I make everyone feel included?” or “How do I make employees feel connected to the company?” keep reading. 

1 Leverage team meetings and town halls to get people excited

Asynchronous communication is great but sometimes real-time engagement is a must. Team meetings and town halls can be a great opportunity to inject some excitement into your team. Sharing exciting updates, providing insights on cross-functional projects, or giving shootouts to employees that have done a great job of demonstrating your company values are all ways in which you can make remote employees feel included and engaged. 

2 Organize fun team building activities

Our current work landscape leaves us no choice but to embrace the world of remote work and working remotely shouldn’t mean that we have to miss out on all of the fun. Like you would in a thriving in-person work environment, it’s imperative to host fun team building activities; even if they have to be enjoyed from afar. 

If your remote team can’t get together for an in-person offsite, virtual team building activities can be just as fun! Consider virtual escape rooms, cocktail or cooking classes, paint nights, or group workouts! 

3 Check-in regularly (1:1 meetings)

As a manager or leader, it’s imperative to host 1: 1 meetings so you can check in with your team members and remote workers. It’s normal for remote workers to feel left out and these one on one meetings can be the perfect opportunity to let them know you appreciate their contributions. Employee recognition is imperative in a remote environment and this is the ideal time to let your remote workers know just how much you care. 

4 Provide professional development opportunities 

Failing to help your employees flourish in their career is one of the worst things that you can do as a manager or leader. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to provide professional development opportunities. Whether it be a budget for online courses, providing the opportunity to take on more responsibility, or attending online or in-person conferences, providing your remote employees with the opportunity to progress in their career is a great way to keep them engaged. 

5 Give bonuses and perks

Nothing screams appreciation like real, tangible rewards. If you want to keep your employees engaged while ensuring their producing top quality work you have to offer incentives that make them want to meet or exceed expectations. 

Perks like half days in the summer or team outings are great incentives that boost morale and incentivize your team to get engaged. Bonuses are also a great way to incentivize your remote employees while building company culture.

6 Organize quarterly or yearly in-person events!

It can be hard to feel included when working remotely. It’s common for remote workers to feel left out or uninspired, especially if you’re operating in a hybrid model where some employees work in an office in a face to face environment and others are working remotely. 

Employee specific approach that caters to each employee individually is ideal when planning quarterly or yearly in-person events. Facilitating these events is a great opportunity to make all team members including remote employees feel included. These in-person retreats may be the only opportunity that remote employees have to meet their teammates. 

How do I make everyone feel included? 

The key to making everyone feel included is to treat your remote workers the same way you would treat in-person employees. It’s all about building a strong company culture and fostering relationships that go beyond work.  Whether it be through employee recognition, video calls, social media, team building activities, or simply letting your teammates know they are doing a good job, your main prerogative should be to make your remote workers feel included. 

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